Nature 19

Mary Elaine (Kleist) Gilles

February 26, 1926 ~ April 13, 2021 (age 95)


Of Waupaca, age 95, passed away on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, peacefully at her home, in the presence of Jim, the love of her life, and their family, after a courageous 14-month battle with cancer.  She was born in Milwaukee on February 26, 1926, the daughter of Elmer and Hazel (Beck) Kleist.  Elaine graduated from North Division High School, Milwaukee, and attended Marquette University.

Elaine and Jim met in Milwaukee in 1941.  Their courtship persevered through the trials of WWII and they married on Thanksgiving Day, 1947.  In 1949 they moved from Bangor to a 10-acre farm at Crystal Lake, near Plymouth, where they lived for almost 40 years.  They worked hard and raised three children, produce and chickens.  Later Elaine was employed as a bookkeeper at a local factory, but primarily focused on family

In 1987, soon after Jim’s retirement, they bought a home in Englewood, Florida and became Florida residents, spending winter with flowers, wildlife and sunshine six months each year.  In 1993 they began spending summers at a family “cottage” on Little Round Lake near Waupaca, surrounded by oak trees and wildlife.  They had the best of both worlds.

Elaine was a member of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Waupaca.  Most days began with morning readings of gratitude, hope and spiritual words to live by, along with breakfast, coffee and a chocolate chip cookie just for fun.  Elaine was the rock of the family, loving, strong-willed, keeper of records, and the navigator of trips.  She was a game enthusiast who loved to play cards, Scrabble, dominoes, and Sequence.  She also was a great communicator through cards, letters and thank you notes, sharing her love and good thoughts for the day. As she aged, Elaine continued to welcome neighbors, friends and family with a kind, open and loving heart.  She will be missed and always remembered for her strong spiritual faith, love of family and caring for those in need.

Elaine is survived by her loving husband of 73 years, Jim, sons: David (Jane Jung) and Steve (Christine), daughter: Ann (Thomas) Jadin; six grandchildren: Jenny, Michael, Patrick, William, Kate Thierry and Mark Jadin, eight great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.  Preceding her in death were her parents and her brothers, Charles and Robert.

The Memorial Mass will be on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The visitation will be on Wednesday at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass.  In lieu of flowers memorials are appreciated to St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church.

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